Gretsch Round Badge - 3 vs 6 ply


Gold Member
Hey guys,

So I'm in the market for a quintessential bop kit, and I've got my heart set on some Round Badges. But I dont know how I feel about 3 ply versus 6 ply. My first choice would be 3 ply because the plys are thicker, and the shells are still thinner than the 6, so the sound quality would be tremendous, but the bass drum has reinforcement rings, and I wouldnt be surprised if the other drums do too. 6 ply has no reinforcement rings, but more/thinner plys so theres more glue and blahblahblah so sound quality suffers on that respect, but I do prefer no reinforcement rings.

if any of you guys can shed some light on the overall sound sound of these drums and which one would be better, I'd really appreciate it.


Platinum Member
Gretsch staggered the seam, on the 3 ply shells, so there still was no re-ring on them .... until you go waaaay back .... so far back I don't even know when .... and I've never seen a Gretsch round badge shell with re-rings either.​
Having said that, I've never "heard" a Gretsch drum with a re-ring either .... but I have heard plenty of Round Badge Gretsch kits. And compared to the Ludwig, Rogers and Slingerland shells of the same era .... the Gretsch do sound different, but it's the Ludwig/Rogers/Slingerland shells that all have re-rings.​
Also, besides Gretsch being the only drums with "straight" shells, they were the only guys using maple/gum/maple .... everyone else was using maple, poplar, and mahogany mixes.​


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Silver Member
Harry - those pix look familiar! Haha.

I have a 3ply 4pc Gretsch (20/12/14) with the exception of the floor tom - it's 6ply. They were all bought new as a kit in 1960. It was not uncommon in the transition year of 1958 (when Gretsch switched from 3 to 6ply and added the silver sealer) - and a few years after - to have mixed ply kits going out the factory door. Gretsch grabbed what they had to make up the order. I do not have a 3ply 1414 floor tom (wish I did) to compare - but I do have a 53 1616 floor tom. Gretsch cut different bearing edges on each drum back then. All four of my drums have different edges. The snare has a sharper edge - more attack - the rack tom has a rounded edge different from the floor tom. The bass is different yet.

None of my Gretsch drums, from my 1926 snare - to my 47 tom, 49 snare, 53 floor tom, 64 snare and 58 kit have re-rings. In my experience the 6ply shells are almost identical to the thickness of three ply shells. The plys in the 6ply drum are thinner and the 3ply layers are thicker of course.

If you want a 3ply kit - especially in the "bop" sizes (18bd/12/14 toms & 4-4.5" snare) you're going to probably have to pay more than 6ply drums (Gretsch). There are some good deals out there these days.


Gold Member
Thanks for the info guys. The 3 ply I saw must have been really freaking old because the bass drum did have re-rings.

I'm relieved that most of the 3 plys dont have re-rings. Hopefully I can find a 12-14-18 from the 40s-early 50s.. haha, I'm prepared to wait.

Brad Bartlett

Junior Member
Gentlemen, I was wondering if I could ask for some help. 60 year old drum pro here in Dallas doing the Charlie Watts thang....lucky enough to have a 1957 Gretsch round badge kit 3 ply natural kit...................but my rack tom is a 9" by 13". I am hunting an orphan, a 8" by 12" 3 ply tom in any finish because I will redo it natural . Looking for players grade, it will be gigged every week. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Platinum Member
How much do you want to spend?Budget is the operative word here.A 3 ply round badge drum ,even player grade ,with a sound shell will run you 325 and up.

Hell,the badge alone sells for over 100.

Check over at the Vintage Drum Forum.

Steve B
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